1. Key West: Endless paddleboarding opportunities are available for visitors to Key West. While the peaceful blue waters surrounding the island are one good option, many people choose to take a backcountry guided tour, which takes them through mangrove islands and provides them with a glimpse of ibis, herons, pelicans, and other fauna. Many companies rent out clear-bottom boards so that one can get a direct glimpse of the fish in the sea grass under their feet. People frequently explore Cowkey Channel, which is located between Key West and Stock Island. The route is typically filled with barracudas, manatees, rays, and octopus.
People who are especially comfortable on a paddleboard can sign up for a yoga session in the Key West mangroves. Since these areas are protected against winds and tides, they are perfect for yoga on the water. The paddleboard adds a whole new perspective to yoga that can quickly improve your balance and help to strengthen your core, while also helping your posture and connecting you directly with nature.
Some Key West companies offer trips after dark for the truly adventurous. The boards typically employ a white LED light system that shines directly into the water below and illuminates the ocean floor. The trip gives people the opportunity to see many nocturnal creatures that are not readily visible at other times of the day. People typically see brightly colored tropical fish and sponges, as well as lobsters and crabs.
In South Walton, beginners will find a number of companies that rent out paddleboards and that will even deliver them wherever one wants to learn. A popular destination among novice paddleboarders is the Watercolor Inn & Resort’s Boathouse, where paddleboarders can learn basic skills in protected waters and then enjoy their first adventure across the calm Western Lake. The Boathouse also offers paddleboard yoga and organizes regular athletic events that combine running and paddleboarding.
3. Miami Beach: A popular destination for paddleboarders who prefer a more urban experience, Miami Beach also offers many diverse locations to explore. Both Biscayne Bay and Intracoastal Waterway offer great, sweeping views of the city’s skyline, as well as a peek into the million-dollar mansions that populate nearby islands. People with steady feet may want to weave in and out of the slower boat traffic to check out the yachts and powerboats docked around the waterways.
A local company offers a unique Neon Tour that departs from South Beach in the evenings. The boards used for this tour have bright, neon lights that light up to 5 feet below the surface of the water so that you can check out the nocturnal wildlife. Specialized tours of Biscayne Bay are also offered. The tours typically take people around the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, where they will get great views of James Deering’s historic mansion and boat docks.
Some Other Great Options
While these three destinations offer some of the most unique experiences in Florida, a number of other great options exist around the state.
Bahia Honda State Park: The major draw of this park is the possibility of witnessing the Green Flash as the sun begins to set. Paddleboarders will often find themselves blissfully alone in the park.
Islamorada: Paddleboarders who set off from Islamorada can glide through Indian Key Historic State Park to get an intimate look at an old wrecking colony and then explore the nearby mangroves, which are home to baby sharks and crocodiles.
Blowing Rocks Preserve: A major attraction on Jupiter Island, Blowing Rocks Preserve has an incredible reef where paddleboarders can catch a glimpse of sea turtles and sharks.
St. Augustine: One of the most beautiful and historic cities in Florida, St. Augustine is perhaps best explored by paddleboard. Along the city’s waterways, individuals can catch great views of the Castillo de San Marcos.